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Gawn to the Max: Big Demon's incredible rise in the rankings

Ben Guthrie  August 2, 2016 7:00 AM

Hunting Hurley, Blue retires, Sandi back The Footy Feed team with all the latest news

MAX Gawn began this season ranked as the 295th player in the Schick AFL Player Ratings.

After the weekend's game against Gold Coast, the Melbourne big man sits at No.19 in the competition – a rise of 276 places.

Gawn amassed 60 hit-outs against Gold Coast, three shy of his personal-best, to continue his outstanding season and further bolster his All Australian claims.

Although Gawn's ruck dominance was absolute against the Suns, the big man's influence has extended into his work around the ground this season.

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Ever since he challenged himself to be one of the best ruckmen in the AFL in a pre-season media conference, Gawn's improvement has been stark.

The ruckman is averaging 14.8 Player Ratings points per game this season, ranked 16th in the competition.

The big man is also leading the AFL in hit-outs per game (42.6) and is averaging career-highs in disposals (14.2), clearances (3.1) and contested possessions (8.1).

Player Ratings takes into account a player's 40 most recent games over a rolling two-year period.

Since round 20, 2014, Gawn has played just 35 of a possible 44 games.

Gawn's fitness and professionalism has improved markedly, something he credits with his development as a footballer.

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"My first three or four years were very unsuccessful in a way, I got injured a lot and I watched a lot of football," Gawn told SEN.

"I knew I had to get out of what I was doing to be able to play AFL so I trained harder, got my diet better and put on a bit of 'good' weight.

"Through two or three years of good consistent pre-seasons I was able to get where I am today but there's still a long way to go for me.

"I need to get a little bit fitter and stronger as well."